My Favorites Leica M10 Menu Settings

All my Ninja setup and favorites Leica M10 settings: a basic guide for menu best practice and take the most of your Rangefinder camera

It has been a little more than two years since my Leica M10 became part of the family, and I can proudly tell you it was one of the best photographic choices I ever made. It's my dear accomplice and companion for my daily life. For the very first time in many many years, I don't go out without a camera. I've been shooting Nikon, Fuji Mirrorless, iPhone, and the Ricoh GR (my second favorite). Still, nothing is compared to the essence of shooting with a Rangefinder camera, it's a delightful pleasure. An engineering marvel. I use it for street photography, for document my daily life and my family, for landscapes, for abstract photos, practically for almost everything. I still haven't had a chance to take my Leica on a long trip. But I'm sure once the world situation will be better (cause the pandemic), it will travel with me as my number one travel gear, no matter what.

I will probably write another post in the future to discuss "Why Leica," and what makes the Leica system unique. These last two years have been fantastic, carrying the camera everywhere with me (even when I go to the supermarket). But I want more time to test out focal lengths I never used, such as the 24mm or 75mm, to use the camera in different environments, and continuously for an extended period. So far, besides using it for my everyday life, I shot with the M10 only a sporting event and a wedding .

Leica M could be the essence of photography.

It's kind of weird saying that. I'm a guy who uses a Nikon D5 (DSLR system) for work, which is entirely another world. I talked a lot about the D5 here and why I love this camera and still use it. I love that it is fully customizable (I mean, entirely). It's incredible what you can achieve with this beast. But to do it, you have tens of buttons and menu options to deal with, moreover its considerable weight and size. While shooting with a Leica M10, or M9, M-P, M, and so on is absolutely the opposite. No video, No autofocus... oh my god, would you believe me if I tell you that using manual focus is faster than AF!?

Simplicity? Absolutely. You only have three buttons on the back of the camera, plus a direction pad, a thumbwheel and a center button. That's it. From the top plate of the camera, you can easily access the shutter speed and ISO, plus the lens aperture. And that is all. With a Leica M camera, you don't really need anything else (take a look at this link to know more about all Leica M system digital cameras).

Less is more.

I really believe it. The less you have to touch, change, or worry about, the better you can focus on just taking photos and making better art. This part is my favorite part :-) I just want to take pictures and enjoy the process. All with a minimalist approach, lightweight, small size, and a terrific, beautiful, and charming aesthetic.

I won't explain why a rangefinder camera is very different and more pleasant to shoot with (IMHO) than a Mirrorless system or a DSLR. There are so many points to address about it that I'm saving that for a further post. When I write about the pros and cons and what it assuredly means to be a passionate Leica M Photographer. I just want to share my Menu settings :-) If you are not yet a Leica M10 user and you are willing to know more about it, you will enjoy seeing how simple and straight-to-the-point the menu is. No need for a lot of configurations. If you are already a Leica user, you can compare your favorite settings with mine and make your own conclusions. Either way, I hope this is helping you anyhow.

Favorites Menu

With the Leica M10, once you press once the Menu button, you access first at your Favorites menu list —as it acts as the Start Page. You can assign up to 7 of the 26 menu options (without to scroll) from the Main Menu to the Favorites Menu. This enables the most frequently used options to be accessed and set remarkably quickly and easily. So, here all my Leica Menu Settings:

The point is to be as fast as possible in your menu choices so you can always be ready in the precise moment.

Once you buy a new camera, you can fully set up all the menu items, right? You do it once, and then you are ready to shoot. From time to time, you can make some changes because you change your workflow or just want to try new features. But once it's done, it's done. This is the advantage of choosing the appropriate favorites menu items, the right ones for you according to your style, and work demands.

Another fantastic fact about the M10 menu. Let's say you want to access another menu item that doesn't appear in your favorites. What to do? Well, once you press the menu once, you access to the favorites. Then, instead of scrolling down using the direction pad, you can press the menu button again, and you go to the first general menu items list. If you want to look at all of them, by pressing the menu button again, you keep changing screens with the next block of options. With just a few clicks, you can see all the menu features. I think this is amazing: essential and super neat.

General Menu Settings

Here I'm showing screenshots of the first three general menu items, where you can find all my preferred choices. I didn't want to share the last one (4th) because there are only two items, the Sensor cleaning and copyright. I'm sure this is not interesting for you.


On the ISO dial, at the top of the camera, there is an M, which stands for kind of "Menu" ISO. You can decide which ISO value to associate with. The ISO wheel has engraved values from 100 to 6,400. That's why I decided to use 12,500, which is the next full-stop available after 6,400.

I always shoot entirely in Manual: shutter speed, aperture, ISO, and White Balance. But if for a particular situation, or just for laziness, I want to shoot in aperture priority with Auto ISO, this would be my setting: my maximum value for ISO is set to 3,200, which covers almost all situations.

My shutter speed is set at 1/4f. This means four-times the focal length you are using. If you shoot, for example, with a 50mm, it would be approximately 1/200; if you shoot with a 21mm, it would be less. Can you guess how much?

JPEG and DNG settings

Leica M10 has a maximum resolution of 24MP (which gives a DNG photo of 5976 x 3992 pixels ). Of course, I use the maximum available. The contrast, sharpness, and saturation are set to standard for JPEG. I shoot in DNG, so I don't care about it, cause it's applied for the preview only. Once I work the raw files on Capture One 20, I give them my own prefered look

Capture Assistant

I don't usually use the Live View, I prefer 95% of the times the Optical View Finder because it's the essence of the Leica. Just for your records, M stands for "Messsucher," which is the German term for a combined rangefinder/viewfinder. But on some occasions, it could be helpful to use an LV. I don't care about Histogram and Exposure Clipping; that's why they are Off. For me, the essential item is the Grids, because it helps me compose with straight line and horizon. And the "Exposure simulation" set with "release half-pressed". This way, it doesn't matter how the exposure and my settings are, I can always see a bright and clear image in my display, but once I half-press the shutter button, I can see the preview of the real exposure according to the settings I'm using.

User Profiles

Ninja, oh yeah! Always Ninja style. It's the name of the profile where all my basic configurations are. I have also exported it in an SD card, just in case I need to restore all the factory settings, or if I get a new camera, so I don't need to set it up all again. For example, my user preset called NOISE is for when, in lazy moments, I work in AUTO and need to push the ISO to the 12,500. Also, some other settings are changed here.


Customize Control

This is the menu part you want to use to edit your "favorite menu" plus to decide what to do with the mighty wheel below the shutter button. You have two options available.

The first option is "Live View." What does it mean? When you use the OVF (Optical View Finder), the wheel is useless, nothing changes when you turn it. But in LV (Live View), it zooms the image and helps you focus, using "focus peaking" aid.

The second option is "Exposure compensation." When I work in manual mode, it doesn't have of course any effect. But if you do work in Auto mode, it's ready for you to compensate your exposure :-)

Let's say that I prefer and want to shoot in manual at 99% of the time. But when sometimes I feel lazy, I just don't want to think about exposure. I put Auto mode, and the exposure compensation is ready for me, to help me even more in my laziness LOL. Does it make sense?

That's it, guys. The very few menu items of my Leica M10. It is not a big deal, right? The settings are not to make you a better photographer, but they can help you achieve it.

I always believed that one needs to master at least the basic techniques, and completely forget about them when it's time to shoot.

Remember that photography is all about the moment. The importance of the story and the context. What a picture makes you feel, and almost nothing to do with the tool you are using to achieve your goals. Anyway, these are my Leica M10 settings for street photography and weddings. And all the other situations where my Ninja style is required.

Happy setup, guys. Looking forward to seeing what you achieved. I hope this tiny review is helping you with something.

Good vibes,

Di Lusso

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